Peacock who loved the river Thames
THOMAS Love Peacock was once listed 62nd in a list compiled by a national newspaper of forgotten authors.
Historian DONALD STANLEY looks at once celebrated author Thomas Love Peacock who was friends with the poet Shelley had four children.
Originally his only son, Edward Gtryffydh, served in the Indian Navy but for health reasons returned to England where he qualified as a lawyer and followed his father by joining the East India Company and becoming a published poet.
He reflected his father’s love of the Thames when he became a member of the Thames Club, winning several races including the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta and the Wingfield Sculls.
Another similarity was that before meeting and marrying his wife, the young Peacock’s engagement to another lady was ended by one of her relatives – an event commemorated in his poem ‘Newark Abbey’.
It is understood that Peacock senior himself disapproved of Edward’s marriage.
His rambling and vague yet witty novels have been described as remarkable for their good sense and wit, and reading them compared to eavesdropping on intellectuals of the past conversing in an English pub.
He was one of many from the world of arts who have made their home in Marlow such as Jerome K Jerome whilst writing ‘Three Men in a Boat’, T S Eliot, and Peacock’s fellow writer and friend Percy Bysshe Shelley for whom Peacock acted also as business agent.
Peacock’s schooling ended when he was aged thirteen but on his own he studied French, Italian and English literature.
He taught himself poetry and it was his published poems that brought him to the attention of Shelley.
During this time he supported himself by clerking which he interspersed with walks including one of two weeks tracing the Thames from its source to his mother’s home in Chertsey.
He was in his mid- thirties when he was invited to join the East India Company in their drive to recruit talented staff.
He did not disappoint them, showing an aptitude for drafting official papers and representing the company before parliamentary committees.
He specialised in steam navigation, superintending the construction of iron steamers which round- ed the Cape to participate in the Chinese War the Suez Canal not being opened until 1869.
Peacock was described as a kind-hearted and genial individual who loved to share his enjoyment of life around him.
Throughout his time with the East India Company, from which he retired in 1856, he continued to contribute to various literary publications.
Peacock married and
Peacocks wrote novels, poetry and essays
The Thames at Marlow